Chabad Australia Abuse Claims to Be Investigated by Commission

Some of Australia's most senior Orthodox rabbis have been subpoenaed to supply documents to public hearing that will examine officials' response to sex abuse allegations.

Tony Fink

An Australian Royal Commission will investigate how rabbis and senior leaders of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Sydney and Melbourne handled the child sex abuse scandal.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse confirmed this week that Chabad in Sydney and Melbourne will be the focus of a public hearing starting February 2 in Melbourne. Some of Australia’s most senior Orthodox rabbis have already been subpoenaed to supply documents ahead of the hearing.

The hearing, which will be streamed live online from the County Court of Victoria, will examine how rabbis and other senior officials dealt with allegations of sexual abuse against three former employees in Melbourne and one in Sydney.

Manny Waks, the only Jewish victim in Australia to have gone public with his story, said he would be testifying.

“Many victims from these institutions, myself included, our families and most of the community are looking forward to these institutions being held to full account for their actions and inactions over many years,” he said in a statement.

A spokesman for Chabad in Sydney told JTA, “We’ve been in contact with the Royal Commission and we are cooperating fully with them.”

The Royal Commission began last year. More than 20 cases have been investigated thus far.